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Oilers finish homestand in style

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
Atlanta got off to a quick start as Eric Belanger redirected a Marian Hossa shot through the legs of Dwayne Roloson to make it a 1-0 game.

Raffi Torres came close to gaining a scoring chance after making some moves at the right faceoff circle to try and get around Thrashers defenceman Steve McCarthy. McCarthy was forced to take a penalty, giving Edmonton its first power play of the night.

On the ensuing man advantage, Toby Petersen blasted a shot from the point that was tipped on its way to the net by Petr Sykora. Horcoff found the rebound during a scramble in front and pushed it over to Ryan Smyth who flicked it past Thrashers goaltender Johan Hedberg.

Horcoff almost gave the Oilers the lead with a minute left. Smyth set him up with a nice backhand pass just as he was hitting his stride. Coming in alone, Horcoff attempted a backhand deke but Hedberg got his left pad on it.

Shots on goal after the first period were 12-8 in favour of Edmonton.

Petr Sykora was set up on a nice opportunity early in the second after a quick pass across the neutral zone from Joffrey Lupul. Sykora's hard shot from the left circle went off the shoulder of Hedberg.

Four minutes into the second, Andy Sutton absolutely crushed Fernando Pisani with an open-ice hit deep in the Thrashers zone. The only penalty on the play was roughing on Jason Smith in retaliation for the hit.

The Oilers were able to kill off that penalty successfully and then carried that momentum into their second goal of the night several minutes later.

Bergeron and Hemsky were buzzing around the Atlanta zone trying to set up a play. Bergeron made a nice move to carry the puck deep into the zone. He then moved the puck over to Hemsky. After taking some time to survey the situation, Hemsky eventually spun off the side boards before finding Bergeron in the high slot for a one-timer. His blast beat Hedberg glove side.

At the 11:10 mark, Marc-Antoine Pouliot scored to increase the Oilers' lead to 3-1. Pouliot wristed a shot from the left circle that beat a screened Hedberg on the blocker side, somehow finding its way through traffic in front.

Just over a minute later, Joffrey Lupul used some hustle to first chase down a potential icing call and then bank the puck off the back of Hedberg's pad after the Thrashers netminder was caught out of position.

Near the end of the second, Shawn Horcoff took two minutes for cross-checking and two for roughing with Atlanta pressing to close the gap to two goals. The recipient in both cases was Thrashers forward Slava Kozlov.

After two, shots were 22-17 for Edmonton.

Ales Hemsky almost made it a four-goal game with a nice move to get around Sutton but he just lost control of the puck at the last moment and Hedberg fell down to cover it.

Atlanta thought they scored 8:12 into the third after a wrister from the high slot found its way through a screened Roloson and into the back of the net. However, Eric Boulton was running some interference with Roloson on the play and was sent off for two minutes in addition to the goal being disallowed.

Late in the third, the Oilers had their sixth power play of the game and capitalized for the second time. During a scramble in front of the net, Torres picked up the loose puck and then backhanded it over a fallen Hedberg.

For the second time in the period, Atlanta scored but it was disallowed due to a goaltender interference call on Eric Boulton.

NOTES: Fernando Pisani left the game in the second with a mild concussion after the hit from Andy Sutton and did not return.
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